The Shelby County Health Department’s Tobacco Prevention Program offers free smoking cessation classes through the Freedom from Smoking program to Shelby county residents who are looking to become tobacco free. Freedom from Smoking is an evidence-based smoking cessation program offering a systematic approach to quitting smoking that focuses on behavior change. Instead of concentrating on the negative effects of smoking, Freedom from Smoking highlights the positive effects of quitting smoking, including improved health and lifestyle. Participants in Freedom from Smoking attend eight community-based sessions within seven weeks. During Session 4 participants prepare for their expected “QUIT DAY”, participants also prepare to say good-bye to an old habit by writing “goodbye” letters to their cigarettes. Check out below some of the goodbye letters our participants shared in the currently-running class:
“My Dearest Friend Kool Mild”
For many long years, you have been there for me, a source of comfort. You came back into my life 33 years ago, at the death of a loved one, my only Uncle Jack. I can remember that day like it was yesterday. You comforted me; you helped me to get through one of the darkest times in my life. You are always there, waiting to give me what I think I need. You fill a void in my life. Being with you gives me a false sense of power.
How crazy is that!!! You have all of the power and I gave it to you. I have given you my last dollar at times. There were times when there was a choice of food or cigarettes, and I choose you. I cling to you even when I am chronically ill. Through serious bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis, I still gave in to you. It is time for the madness to stop! Enough is enough!!! I do not belong to you, you do not own me. I am done allowing you to suck the very life out of me. Today is the first day of the rest of my life; a life that does not include a relationship with you.
I trust the God I serve to keep me through this transition. I know that he loves and truly cares for me. His will for me is to be happy, healthy, and prosperous. I choose God’s will for my life. I choose to be healthy and to feel good. I choose a life without YOU.
Goodbye Old Friend
“Dear Camel Blues”
Our relationship has been a lie. It is a relationship of deception, co-dependence, and convenience. Before you came into my life, I knew how to enjoy my own company. I could ride in a car with the windows up and just enjoy the drive. I could sit outside and enjoy being outside. Before you, my morning routine had more to do with breakfast and getting out the door to be 15 minutes early. Before you, I would fill my free time with outdoor activities or cooking and cleaning for my family. I cared about them first before you. Because of you, I have subconsciously lowered many of my standards for life. I’m late for things. I choose you over my children. Emily hates you. When the three of us are together, she stares at you with contempt and anger about what you are doing to her mother. She wonders how much time we have together before you take me away for good. My mother hates you too. She doubts herself and her ability to parent every time she sees us together. When she looks at you, she is reminded of a time in our lives when I was completely broken….and I turned to you instead of her. She wants so much more for me than you. She knows you’ll take me away from her and from my children before it’s time.
Ben is too young. I won’t let him see us together because I’m ashamed of you. Which only embarrasses me more when I allow Emily to see us together.
When I think about why we are together…..it makes me want to turn the page. We are together because I foolishly thought you could help me through the darkest period of my life. What I didn’t realize then, was that as deep and dark as that was for me…it was temporary. Now, that time is over, and I am basking in more blessings than I ever thought possible for me. And yet here you are. Unwelcome. Demanding my time and health. Choosing you was choosing a slower form of suicide… a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Thinking that you were helping me was beyond foolish. Since the day we met, you have been slowly leading me towards a darkness that will not only affect me, but everyone who loves and depends on me. I’m smarter than this. I
know better. I’m not weak anymore. I’m not afraid anymore. It’s time to let you go and stand supported by those who need me, want me and more important… love me.”
If you are interested in receiving more information about the Freedom From Smoking program or any other cessation services, please contact the Shelby County Health Department’s Quit Line at (901) 222-9274.